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January 31, 2018

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Erred in awarding party tickets: Imran

FAISALABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday admitted committing mistakes in awarding party tickets for the 2013 elections, saying money might have been involved in the process. He, however, promised that merit would be the sole criterion for the purpose in the coming polls.

Promising to provide an environment conducive to investment, Imran said a textile-centric policy was imperative to economy but the successive governments had failed to harvest the dividends of a cotton producing country.

Fake, hollow and unrealistic claims are now being made about economic revival with an ulterior motive to gain political benefits in the upcoming general elections, said Imran. The PTI chief also claimed that the businessmen were investing in the industrial sector of Dubai only due to corruption in Pakistan.

“In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, no politician can do business,” said Imran and added his party would make a policy to ensure that those in government did not benefit themselves. Addressing the launching ceremony of his party’s Textile Policy for 2018-23, he said the PTI aimed at reviving the national economy and a consensus and egalitarian strategy had been evolved to mitigate the sufferings of people by exploiting the available resources in a most fair and transparent manners.

Imran lauded the efforts of Zafar Iqbal to formulate the policy by consulting all stakeholders from Faisalabad, Lahore Karachi, and Islamabad. He described the textile sector as the backbone of national economy and said it must be given top priority to earn precious foreign exchange in addition to creating job opportunities for the growing population of Pakistan with a clear objective to make the country a global leader once again in export of value-added textile products.

He said Pakistan had surplus production of cotton which could be utilised at more than one dozen stages of value addition but the previous governments ignored the important sector. “Hence, despite of producing 14 million bales of cotton per annum, we are still earning just a peanut from textile sector which is the mainstay of national economy.”

He said the PTI would encourage value addition so that Pakistan could export 100 per cent finished products like garments and fashion apparel in order to fetch maximum profit. According to Imran, his party’s Textile Policy enshrines nine basic objectives: making Pakistan world market leader by increasing significant value-added exports in addition to increasing cotton production, facilitating additional investment in machinery and technology, improving product-mix, strengthening small and medium enterprises, promoting vocational training, ensuring productive research and development, increase ease of doing business and reducing cost of doing business.

Earlier, Zafar in his speech said the PTI believed that the electricity and gas rates should be proportionate to the tariffs of the regional competitors –electricity tariff at Rs 8 per unit and gas at Rs 700 per mmbtu.

Regarding economic issues, he said currency would be deregulated purely in accordance with the economic principles instead of gaining political or financial edge. He promised effective lobbying for the continuity of GSP Plus status and encouraging public-private partnership to make Pakistan fully compliant to the international conventions, agreements and protocols.

Zafar said Pakistan was dependent on imported textile machinery but the PTI government would encourage manufacturing that locally in order to introduce modern technology and investment. "We would also take necessary initiatives to upgrade the existing industrial zones in the country to make our industrial sector to compete with the developed economies" he added.

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